Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Story

The story is not about how my sister died. The story is that she did and how we have moved on and survived after it. The story of her death is not the end of the story, it is the beginning, it is essential to the message but it is not the message.

My sister, my best friend, died sometime around midnight on December 22, 2005. She had been planning to leave her husband after the Christmas holidays were through, but he didn't know it. They had separated earlier that year in November for a short time but had decided to try reconciliation. Things hadn't changed though and she was tired of feeling trapped, she was ready to take the step out. What we didn't realize at the time was that he was abusive. He never hit her so it was easy to mistake it as a normal relationship. Heaven knew we didn't grow up witnessing one so we wouldn't have known otherwise. However, he was verbally and emotionally abusive for many years. He controlled her actions, felt extreme jealousy at her normal activities, put her down constantly and publicly, at times prevented her from putting her motherly instincts into action, isolated her from her friends and family, restricting who they saw and when.

We'll never know exactly what happened the night she died, but we heard afterwards that he had told a work friend that if he couldn't have her, no one would. He killed her. Beat her to death. The first time he hit her, he killed her. Then, he went out to the shed and killed himself, leaving their 2 boys sleeping in the house to find their mother in the morning. What a horrid legacy for the boys to wake up into. How do they get past that? How do they put aside the memories of having to step over their mothers body to open the door for the police? How do they reconcile what their father did? They are not their father. They are not their mother. But their parents death lives on inside of them, sometimes taking on a life of its own.

Their death is such a horrid story. I dislike telling it. I don't like the looks of pity I get when people hear about my sister. But it is a powerful story. It has a great message to be heard. My sister didn't know what could happen to her, most people don't realize that emotional and verbal abuse is as dangerous as physical abuse. I do now. I know how easy the step from one to the other is. We look the other way when a man insults his wife publicly, thinking they are having a disagreement or just thinking he's an idiot, but when he hits her, it's a huge problem and people get up in arms about it. We need to get up in arms before he hits her. We need to get up in arms when he starts insulting her, keeping her from her friends, accusing her of affairs following normal every day activities.

We need to spread the message. We must not be silent. Angela's death can save other women, it has saved other women. The story must be told in order to prevent the same thing happening again. I will dance on, my dance has changed since her death and I pray that in my dancing her story is heard.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


They say "time heals all wounds". It's true, however we often desire it to take less time that it actually does. I have subscribed to emails from "DivorceCare" and I get a daily email from them about the path that divorce takes us on. Day 29 is stuck in my head today.

It talks about expecting too much progress too quickly. I do this. I do this very often. In fact, now, 5 years after the death of my sister and brother-in-law, I am finally realizing that I have dealt with her death. I have healed from the pain of that time. Not completely, and I will always miss her, but the pain is beginning to dissipate. It is easier to think of her and talk of her without crying. It's taken a long time. 5+ years. I wanted it to be sooner, oh - forget that - I wanted it to never have happened. I still wish it had never happened, but it did and 5 years later I am beginning to feel as if I am healing.

It is a good realization. For so long I have felt and been told that I have not faced the agony of her death, I have not healed from the pain of it, that it is governing my emotions and decisions. The truth is that the story of my sisters death is a part of who I am. I cannot walk away from that anymore than I can walk away from being "Marie's daughter". It is a part of my identity, my history, my experiences and we are all partially defined by those and by how we chose to react and allow them to change us. It does not control me, it opens my eyes to the dangers of certain behaviors and provides me a unique opportunity to make decisions based on that experience. Not by creatively making up situations and circumstance, but by seeing them for what they truly are.

I am healing from Angela's death. I am beginning to heal from the decision to end my marriage and get a divorce. I need to remember that it will take time. I must remember that people may see my actions and decisions and misinterpret them. It is only God who truly sees my heart. It is His path that I am following and that is all I want. To follow His path, wherever it may lead. The pain of today is far less than the pain that could have been; it is far less than the pain of yesterday, and the pain of tomorrow will be less than the pain of today.

Thank God!

Keep dancing with me!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Today I discovered something about myself. I'm partaking in a course called "Prisms", my son is in the companion course and it has been beneficial to our whole family.

Our chapter today was about hurt and anger. Emotions that are common in life, and especially in the situation we find ourselves in now. In preparing for the evening, I discovered something about me that I never knew before. I never even considered was possible. It's funny, really.

Ever since I was a teenager, I have worried about how I handle anger. It has always scared me, whether it comes from me or someone else, it is not something that I am comfortable with. Let's face it, I grew up in a home where anger was dangerous. It brought injury when coming from others, it triggered injury when coming from myself. So, I always thought that I had a problem with anger.

What I realized today is that I don't. The reality is that I have learned very effective ways of dealing with anger, especially my anger. I don't explode, I don't cause injury to myself or others. I prefer to step aside, calm down and return in a more reasonable frame of mind. I've often felt bad for yelling at my children, yet today I realized that when I yell at them (when they deserve it), I teach them that it is okay, and safe, to express anger by yelling. I'd rather they learn to yell it out than hit it out. I have found safe and effective methods to teach them about expressing their own anger, and I am doing that, and they are learning it.

My realization today, my "wow" moment for February 15, is that the fear of anger that I have had for so many years has enabled me to learn healthy ways of expressing anger. I can move past it. I can move on. I can set that worry aside and focus on areas that actually do need my attention and work.

Wow. God is so good to have shown me this. Doesn't mean that I can fully relax, I need to continue healthy anger expression. I probably need to continue working on receiving anger from others, but my greatest fear of anger has been shown to be false tonight. It's delightful and freeing!

God bless you!

Ten Commandments

Exodus 20:2-17.... Paraphrased by me. :)

1. (2)"I am the Lord your God who rescued you from the place of your slavery"; from the people who abused you. (3)"You must not have any other god but Me". The others did not, could not save you. I DID.

2. (4)"Do not make an image of anything I created and worship it". This makes it all about you, not Me. Do not give a thing credit for what I have done for you. (5)"I am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods" (etc.). I am not willing to share your love with other things, I want all of you. There are consequences that come of splitting your loyalties - even your children and grandchildren will be hurt by this. (6) But the consequence of remaining true to Me in your worship is to have unfailing love lavished on you and on the generations that follow you.

3. (7) "You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God" Do not misuse My name. Don't treat It as something common, don't tarnish My reputation.

4. (8-12) "Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy". Remember the Sabbath day, keep it holy. Work for six days, but rest on the seventh. It is a blessed day, was blessed at the beginning of time. It is set apart as holy.

5. (12) "Honor your father and mother, then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you". It will save you grief, listen to their wisdom.

6. (13) "You must not murder". Encourage life. Speak life-giving words.

7. (14) "You must not commit adultery". Remain pure at heart. Don't even look with desire on anyone but your spouse. Do not be intimate with someone not your spouse, whether or not you are married. This will only damage you in the long run.

8. (15) "You must not steal". Respect others, respect their property. Act in an honourable manner, even when no one is looking.

9. (16) "You must not testify falsely against your neighbor". Always speak the truth. Testify in truth.  Be sure of truth when testifying. Don't judge, hypothesize, generalize, or assume. Don't gossip.

10. (17) "You must not covet your neighbor's house... wife... servant... ox or donkey or anything else that belongs to your neighbor".  Be thankful for the gifts I have given to you. Respect others. Rejoice with them in their successes and speak well of them.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Armoured Up

Ephesians 6:14-18 speaks of wearing the armour of God on a daily basis to protect us from the evil one who is out to destroy.  This may be a continuing thread, I haven't made it through all the verses today, but want to share my thoughts on the first 2 pieces of armour we are encouraged to put on every day.

"Tighten the belt of truth securely around yourself"
It's not easy to always speak the truth. When under attack or duress, sometimes it is easier to let the truth slip or go to "make peace", but that is the peace of the world, not the peace of Christ. This has been my battle, to cling to the truth despite advice to the contrary, despite attack and manipulation to consider truth to be of less importance than another's feelings and/or societal expectations. When I waver, God reminds me of the truth & I tighten that belt again... except then I feel guilty for standing firm, which is Satan's tool to keep me trapped and weakened. Hmmmm.....

Another thought is that often we are tempted to temper the truth with a lie to soften the consequence, soften the truth to avoid hurting people.... We are not called to avoid hurting others, we are called to live in the truth. Not to go out and use the truth to beat others up, but not to dismiss the truth in order to "protect" them either. Jesus never once refrained from speaking the truth to save a persons feelings, He spoke out of love, He spoke out of mercy, but He always spoke Truth. He made enemies because of it, He died because of it, but He NEVER compromised the truth.

"Cover your chest with the breastplate of Christ's Invincible Righteousness"
Invincible. Bullet proof. Unbeatable. Impenetrable... Nothing can get through Christ's Righteousness. No accusation, no injury, no flaming arrow, no Teflon bullets. Nothing. Nada. I can walk into battle without fear if I have put on this Breastplate. Christ has given this breastplate to me. To protect my heart, my lungs, my ability to breathe and beat blood through my body. I have been suffering anxiety attacks... if I am wearing His Breastplate, He protects this valuable area, freeing me! His Righteousness is His perfection, His Character... He covers my character with His Character - with Who He Is. I cannot be seen, my imperfections are invisible once I put on His Breastplate.

I need to make a point of wearing His armour every morning. We are in a battle. Everything that happens around us is part of a cosmic battle between good and evil, we see it in TV shows, movies, books.... Everything has a hero and a villain. So does our lives, our existence. The Hero is Jesus, the villain is Satan. We get to chose the side we fight on, but make no mistake, it IS a battle.

Will you join me in wearing this armour?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Princess Warrior

T and I were discussing the book "Captivating" (by John & Stasi Eldredge) today. The book calls even women to be warriors, it reminds us that we also have a battle to fight, one that is unique to our femininity and beauty. T commented that we are to be Princess Warriors and it reminded me of a long ago time when I was enthralled with the meaning of my name. Interesting enough, my name means Princess and Fights with Honor. So, my name means Princess Warrior. I am called to fight a battle. I have been born to fight a battle, everything in my life has brought me to the battle before me.

God has called me to this battle. Whether or not I want to fight it, it is before me. Whether or not others want to acknowledge or affirm it, it is before me. I cannot run from it. I cannot surrender - at least not if I hope to emerge a victor. God walks before me and with me into the fray. I am certain that I am on the path He has set before me, and if I am certain of that, why do allow doubts and fears to assail me? Why do I let the opinions of others sway me? Why do I not see my worth?

I told T today that I am coming to the place where I can see that I have beauty. I am beautiful. I have always compared myself to my sister, always falling short of her beauty and today I looked at a picture of us as children and realized that in many ways, I am more beautiful than my sister. What a hard thing to acknowledge, to admit. Others have said it, but I've never believed them. God is opening my eyes to my own physical beauty. That is amazing to me. It is a little surreal and it feels a little vain/conceited. Yet, it is necessary for me to see who I am. God sees me as beautiful and He is showing me how He sees me. It is a step toward healing. BUT. I also told T that I don't see how I am captivating. I have this fear that if people look too deep within me they will not find beauty inside. I don't feel like I captivate people. I have been ignored, neglected, pushed aside, overlooked and rejected for so many years that I find it hard to believe I can capture someone's attention and hold it.  What do I have to share? I feel hollow, empty. That's what I'm afraid people will find if they look too deeply, they will find nothing. A hollow space.

How do I find the truth? How do I get past my perception of how others see me? I'll work on it and get back to you when I find some answers. I need to get my heart and my head to agree. That is easier said than done though.

I am a free woman who loves and accepts others just for who they are.... Is that enough?